I got fired – (and what I learned)

fired lessons senior role Aug 16, 2019

As always I’m taking a break from writing new blogs in August to recharge my batteries (I try to practise what I preach) so over this month I will be sharing four of this year’s most popular blog posts with you. If you haven’t read them yet….here’s your chance!

This week it’s about being fired.

I’ve been fired twice. 

Once from a seasonal job in Switzerland - for insubordination. (If you know me, that won’t surprise you at all – and in my defence, I was very young). And a year or so later for not ‘looking the part’ (my ‘just out of student life’ gear didn’t work in the hallowed world of posh interior design). 

That taught me I wanted to work in a ‘less traditional’ environment – over the next ten years my travel industry job took me to Spain, France, Australia, Thailand, Israel, Greece, Egypt, Cyprus, Hawaii (someone had to do it). My bosses were a plane journey away and I...

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Corporate Values are Meaningless unless….

corporate values Aug 09, 2019

As always I’m taking a break from writing new blogs in August to recharge my batteries (I try to practise what I preach) so over this month I will be sharing four of this year’s most popular blog posts with you. If you haven’t read them yet….here’s your chance!

This week it’s Corporate Values.

I have to say I am sometimes a bit cynical about corporate values (there, I said it!). Not because they are not good things to have – in theory they are - but because so often they are words created to sound good, written by the senior team, a ‘project group’ or a bunch of consultants who then think ‘job done’. But everyone else thinks they are being ‘done to’. 

No-one in the business really understands them or remembers them and even if they do, they don’t necessarily see those values being lived or breathed on a daily basis. 

And we all know that actions speak louder than words.

There’s also the...

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Best read of the year

Uncategorized Aug 02, 2019

As always I’m taking a break from writing new blogs in August to recharge my batteries (I try to practise what I preach) so over this month I will be sharing four of this year’s most popular blog posts with you. If you haven’t read them yet….here’s your chance!

This week:

I recommended this book just before Christmas last year. It’s a must read.

21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari

So if you’re off on your holidays, put it on your reading list.

Compelling, frightening, illuminating and completely mind boggling.

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Small talk can change your life (for the better)

A couple of years ago, I gave one of my clients an experiment to practise ‘small talk’ with a variety of people in and outside work. In the supermarket, on the many flights he took for work, with colleagues and so on.

There was a solid business case and reason for this as well as a deeply personal one which was about building trust, being genuinely interested in others and getting to know people as ‘human beings’ not just roles and titles. In essence it was about helping him to CONNECT with his work colleagues. He’d struggled to do this using the belief that ‘private stuff has no place at work’ and it was having a detrimental effect on his work relationships – people described him as ‘secretive’ and ‘closed’ when of course he simply saw the world in a different way from his peers .

He really wanted to change this (whilst remaining true to what he described as ‘my inner introvert’!) and so he started...

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5 Ways to Avoid Time-wasting Meetings (without ruining relationships)

meetings time wasting Jul 19, 2019

One of the biggest time wasters in organisations is meetings. So much of them are simply collective procrastination with people pretending that stuff is actually getting done.

When it isn’t.

Who are we kidding here?

I often lay down a challenge for my coaching clients to slash their meeting times by half over the next three months (and to STOP the back to back meeting hell that means you’re always late, never ‘present’ and often on the back foot).

Here’s how you can do this too:

Firstly, ask: ‘How important is this meeting to achieving my personal and organisational goals?’ If it isn’t then find a way to say ‘no’ to the meeting without offending. The ‘without offending’ bit is key. Here’s how to nail this:

  • Offer to attend part of the meeting. ‘I’m on a deadline with project x but I can join you for half an hour between 10 and 10.30.’
  • Schedule a phone call instead...
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10 Ways to Influence with Integrity

influence integrity Jul 12, 2019

Many people in corporate life tell me they would like to have a stronger influence – particularly at a more senior level. This is one of my ‘most read’ blogs of all time so if you haven’t seen it before, enjoy!

Influence is something we all have – to influence positively is something most of us can develop or get better at. Here are my top ten tips for making a start!

1. Be interested more than ‘interesting’. ‘Receive’ more than you ‘transmit’. Listening is the most under-rated communication skill and yet the most powerful skill we possess if we want to influence other people. How to get better at it? Practise, practise, practise. There’s no magic bullet. And a clutter-free mind helps.

2. It is said that emotion (and story-telling) drives many of the decisions we make. So however much ‘logic’ you might present, I might not be influenced. If you...

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5 ways to get your voice heard (for all the right reasons)

It saddens me that so many people with really valuable and useful things to say don’t get heard. And yet their colleagues speak up and speak out with no problem at all – sometimes eloquently and succinctly, at other times…. well you know the rest!

It saddens me because when I first became a senior leader, I struggled to get my voice heard too. I had that ‘not good enough’ feeling way too often. Plus I was brought up to believe that it is ‘rude to interrupt’ (is it? Always?) and that made it really hard to find a way in to the conversation.

Here are 5 possible reasons your voice is not being heard – and what to do about it:

1. Problem: You’re not speaking in meetings! So many talented people tell me they don’t want to speak up ‘for fear of looking stupid’ or something similar. Solution: Find a way to say something – just one thing to start with. How about: ‘This is new ground for me, so I’d...

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Shut up and Listen!

Sorry if that sounds rude but one of the mistakes we sometimes make when going into a conversation is to think we should have all the answers – slick, smart, clever answers.

Because, as a leader or manager that’s what you’re paid to do, right?

Wrong.

The best managers I know have mastered the art of asking great questions (and listening REALLY well) in order to get to the best answers.

And let me be clear. This is NOT a set of questions that you can learn by rote and pull out randomly. Oh no.

Now, there are some great questions that can serve many purposes because it’s always good to have a starting point. But we can do so much more than that if we want to get to mastery.

My wonderful coach mentor recently described a really great question as ‘one you would only ever use once’.

Because it only means something to that particular person. You’re using their words as part of your question.

That is really powerful.

It means really listening to...

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Are you giving out the wrong messages?

behaviour habits Jun 21, 2019

I’ve been reminded of a phrase this week for a variety of reasons and as a result of numerous conversations. There’s definitely been a theme emerging!

The phrase is this: ‘You teach others how to treat you’.

It’s a bit of a variation on the theme of ‘treat others as you would like to be treated yourself’:

Here’s what I mean:

  • If I want you to trust me, I have to demonstrate trustworthiness;
  • If I want to be respected, I have to respect myself and respect you;
  • If I want you to value what I bring, I have to value myself, value what I bring AND value what you bring.

Some time ago, I worked with a wonderful lady who was the team comedian. Which is all very well, but she wanted a promotion and nobody could imagine her in a more senior position – after all, she was the team joker and they couldn’t always take her seriously! She eventually had to leave the organisation and re-invent herself in a new role - (not losing her humour...

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4 ways to throw off the safety blanket of Busyness

Last time I wrote about the safety blanket of Busy-ness.

This week I want to share with you four key things to help you or your teams throw off that safety blanket! I wrote the article for Strategic HR Review a while back and thought it was worth a re-share! I do have permission to share it with you! (The article starts on page 2.)

Four ways HR can improve business productivity

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